The Obvious Circus Events Calendar (Until 1/23)


Following on the heels of my New Year’s resolution to not become one of those insufferable ex-pats that wastes their time bitching about life in Japan when it would be so much better spent packing and getting the fuck out, I actually went out this week and didn’t fall into the same old trap of going where it’s most comfortable. So, OK, I did start the night enjoying the excellent happy hour deals at the Red Rock (awesome mint julep, Mr. Dave!). But cut me some slack, I’m 35 now. Any adventure I partake must be preceded by a healthy dose of courage.


Any long time readers of mine know that I am a huge nerd for sound bars. And while I thought I had discovered them all, friend and OC compatriot Will Taylor taught me that this old town still has some hidden delights to be found. He took me to Karnell’s Bar, a chill music dive between Sakae  and Yaba-cho station he discovered on one of his drunken adventures. The first thing I noticed was the steady stream of 70s soul being craftily spun by owner and purveyor of all things funky, Sato. Sato is everything I like in a bartender and a DJ, has an encyclopedic knowledge but let’s his mix speak for him.  Behind the bar, Mr. Sato has an astounding collection of vinyl that brings to mind the gone-but-not-forgotten Heaven’s Door. However, while Heaven’s Door would throw you out for requesting anything other than another round, Sato might ask you if there’s anything you want to hear. The answer to that question of course is shut up and let the man choose; he’s better than you. Karnell’s is big enough to comfortably fit you and a small group of friends, but it’s cozy so let’s just keep it between you and me.

All this year I will be adventuring out to discover more hidden gems in Nagoya (to further delay my descent to becoming just another bitter gaijin), so if you have a favorite bar, party or band you’d like to promote, drop the details to me at

On to the calendar!

Friday 18th


Tokuzo in Imaike from 18:00

Along with their monthly Harmonium Parlour at The Plastic Factory at the end of the month, this always awesome Gypsy folk rock band is giving us a bit extra this January. Sapato Novo opens with their accordion-driven Latin sound. DOOR ¥1500

Chad Valley

K.D. Japon in Tsurumai from 18:00

This one-man sound machine does what few others in the industry are capable of: makes pop music that is both smart and danceable. DOOR ¥3400


Club JB’s in Sakae from 22:00

Hip hop duo Campy  and Hempy are celebrating the release of their new album, an impressive collection of dope beats and smooth flow. ADV ¥2000 / DOOR ¥2500

Black Box

Club About in Sakae from 22:00

Local producer HIEI is special guesting at this techno party just down the road from the Red Rock. DOOR ¥1500


Club Quattro in Sakae from 18:30

A jazz fusion sound which is neither new nor masterful. DOOR ¥6000

Saturday 19th

Brian Cullen  and Tomonori

Country Joe in Shinsakae from 21:00

Dr. Cullen is returning to his roots with a set of Irish drinking songs (do the Irish make non-drinking songs?). He’ll be joined by talented mandolinist Tomonori. This one is a good warm up for the St. Patty’s day festivities next month! DOOR ¥500

Sweet Soul Music

Club Buddha in Shinsakae from 21:00

My time at Karnell’s Bar left me wanting to hear more of that sweet soul music. I wonder if this party could fill the void.


Plastic Factory in Imaike from 22:00

Techno, tech house and just generallyTech-y dance music from DJs Hidehiko, Mika, Kida  and Cony. The Plastic Factory is where you go for good music when you cannot be bothered to deal with Sakae. DOOR ¥1500 (1D)

Nagoya Friends Pizza Party

Red Rock in Sakae from 18:00 – 21:00

Last time, Nagoya Friends had a Hawaiian theme. This time around they’ve gone Italian. ¥3,000 gets you all the slices you can eat  and drink with many exciting prizes to be given away.


iD Café in Sakae from 19:00

I’m not one to wave a banner for iD, but I like to remind people that every month they play host to 2 of the biggest names in Nagoya DJs Ogawa  and Toida. Head to the second floor this Saturday for the best in house music.


Club Mago in Shinsakae from 22:00

If you were leaning towards hitting up Mago this Saturday, you’ll catch another damn techno party.  ADV ¥2500 / DOOR ¥3000

Sunday 20th

Nagoya Swings Beginners’ Workshop

Shooters in Fushimi from 19:30

Nagoya’s only international jazz dance group is starting off the New Year with a great chance for anyone to get involved in this escalating scene. They’re offering 2 bi-lingual introductory lessons for only ¥500. This is the best way to get introduced to ballroom dance styles such as East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop  and the Charleston. Singles  and couples are all welcome.


Club Zion in Kamiamezu from 17:00

There will be lots to jump about when local ska-punk band Free Kick releases their new EP Dawn Of The Future, available now at Recordshop Zoo in Osu. DOOR ¥2000

Nag Bash

Club Radix in Tsurumai from 18:00

In a continuing effort to prove they are more than just a club on the wrong side of the tracks, Radix is once again presenting this revolving lineup of local bands including Missing Field  and The BUTCH. DOOR ¥2000 (+1D)

Wednesday 23rd


Bottom Line in Imaike from 18:30

Megastar producer, and the only DJ approved by hipster d-bags everywhere, Steve Aoki is currently touring Asia to promote his newest EP It’s The End of the World As We Know It. He’s only stopping once in Japan, and he chose Nagoya. So what if he just happens to have his layover here before heading to Singapore, we got him (suck it, Tokyo!) Aoki shows go BIG, so be prepared to call in sick on Thursday due to dance-induced coma. DOOR ¥6000 / DOOR ¥7000


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